Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is all set to be the next chief minister of the state after he was elected unanimously by the BJP Legislature Party, which met in Guwahati on Sunday. According to sources in the party, Sarma’s name was proposed by incumbent Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
Sarma will take oath at 12 pm tomorrow, party sources said.
Taking to Twitter, he thanked the people of Assam for their ‘pious faith’.
“With fragrance of Assam in my heart & love of my wonderful people in my veins, I offer my deepest gratitude to you all. I would not have been what I am had it not been for your pious faith in me. On this Day, I vow to work with & for each one of you with greater passion Assam,” he tweeted.
Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar and party General Secretary Arun Singh were present as central observers at the BJP Legislature Party meet. Baijayant Panda, BJP’s Assam in-charge was also present on the occasion.
Earlier on Sunday, Sarbananda Sonowal tendered his resignation to Governor Jagadish Mukhi prior to a meeting of the BJP Legislature Party which is expected to elect the next Chief Minister of the state, Raj Bhawan sources said. As is the tradition, the Governor asked Sonowal to continue in office till the formation of the new government.
In the results announced for the 126-member Assam Assembly last Sunday, the BJP won 60 seats while its alliance partners AGP got nine seats and UPPL six. BJP national president J P Nadda will be present at the oath-taking event.
On Saturday, Sarma and Sonowal, both contenders for the top post, were in New Delhi to meet the BJP central leadership. Sarma visited Nadda’s residence, where he also met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP general secretary (Organisation) B L Santhosh. A series of meetings, lasting for more than four hours, were held with Nadda and Shah with the duo, following which Sarma said that the BJP’s legislature party is likely to meet on Sunday and all questions related to the next government will be answered there. Both Sonowal and Sarma had gone together to Delhi on Saturday morning by a chartered flight and returned at night along with the central observers.
Sonowal, who belongs to Assam’s indigenous Sonowal-Kachari tribals, and Sarma, the convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance, were both contenders for the top post of the Assam government. The BJP had not announced a chief ministerial candidate before the Assembly polls in Assam and speculations are rife for the last one week on who would be the next chief minister of the state.
In the 2016 Assembly polls, the BJP had projected Sonowal as its chief ministerial candidate and won, forming the first saffron party government in the northeast. This time, the party has been maintaining that it would decide who would be the next chief minister of Assam after the elections.
The ruling BJP alliance is the first non-Congress government in the state to win the elections for the second consecutive term.